Malaysia offers Saudis MM2H program

Updated 08 January 2013

Malaysia offers Saudis MM2H program

JEDDAH: More and more foreigners are now making use of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program as over 20,000 expatriates have settled in the Southeast Asian country since its launch 10 years ago, said Malaysian Consul General Mohammed Khalid Abbasi Abdul Razak. He called on Saudis to consider this impressive program, saying it is affordable and worthwhile.
“The government has approved 2,387 MM2H applications in 2011, and last year it had targeted 3,000 approvals,” Razak said while giving his keynote speech at an MM2H seminar here Sunday that was attended by representatives of travel agencies, airlines, businesses and the media.
He said Malaysia’s warm climate, political stability and modern economy were attracting more foreigners to settle in the country.
“With the re-branding of the MM2H since 2009, the new direction of the program is to attract not only foreigners looking to stay long-term or retire in Malaysia, but also high net-worth individuals looking to invest in Malaysia, either by setting up their business or by partnering with Malaysian entrepreneurs,” he explained.
Malaysia is placed third, after Ecuador and Panama, on a list of 22 “World's Top Retirement Havens in 2013” by the travel Web magazine, Internationalliving.com.
The list was compiled based on a survey on several factors affecting retirees in each country including real estate prices, special benefits and infrastructure for retirees, overall cost of living, medical and health facilities and climate.
The e-magazine described Malaysia as Asia's most desirable destination “having everything” from its tropical weather of 27°C all year round and its pristine beaches, islands and jungles. It has some of the region's best street food, great restaurants, bars, shopping malls and movie theaters and prices are affordable. “Malaysia is an easy place for expatriates to make friends, as English is widely spoken while having the state of the art and medical centers of excellence,” Razak said, quoting the magazine.
The seminar was organized by Tourism Malaysia office in Jeddah to educate Saudis as well as foreign workers in the Kingdom about MM2H program and its incentives.
MM2H is a government-endorsed program introduced in 2002 specifically to attract foreigners wishing to live a meaningful and affordable life in Malaysia for extended periods. Participants of the program are given a social visit pass and multiple-entry visa from the Malaysian Immigration Department, which is good for 10 years and is renewable.
“Both documents give MM2H participants the freedom to enter and leave Malaysia whenever they wish with special green lane at the airport. Among the incentives are house and car purchases and tax exemption on pensions and foreign income brought into the country. It also enables their children to study in the best international schools in Malaysia,” he said.
“We have been receiving quite a number of Middle East participants in this program,” said the consul general. In 2011, MM2H participants from the Middle East reached 327. As for 2012 until month of September, the figures have already reached 210 participants from the Middle East.
Razak announced that beginning March, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) would be operating daily flights on Jeddah-Kuala Lumpur sector. MAS also will be offering special tourism packages.


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.